News from the Tennessee Valley Sports

Tide baseball coach returns
Wells says he couldn't sleep after deciding to retire

By Josh Cooper 340-2460

TUSCALOOSA — For six days, Alabama baseball coach Jim Wells couldn't sleep.

Not even his routine of passing out to ESPN's Baseball Tonight at 11:15 p.m. was doing the trick.

He knew something was wrong, which is why he decided to reverse his decision of retiring to rejoin the school as its baseball coach Wednesday.

"I had to re-evaluate things," Wells said. "I realized what I had after I let it go. and I wanted it back."

Well said he talked to former players Andy Phillips and Dax Norris,
who helped bring clarity to his decision.

He also just felt uncomfortable being at home and doing non-baseball related chores, such as changing his car's oil or mowing the lawn.

"I wouldn't have felt the way I did the last six days if it was the right decision," Wells said.

He said he realized Monday that he made a mistake and talked with athletics director Mal Moore on Wednesday morning about coming back.

There had been a media gathering previously scheduled with Wells on Wednesday morning, but that was canceled. Then, later in the day, the announcement came that Wells would be back.

"I think it's very important to note that Jim struggled greatly with his original decision to retire," Moore said. "That reflected the passion he feels about this university, the Alabama baseball program and the community at large. I am pleased that he has reconsidered that decision and I am confident that his commitment to this program is now stronger than ever."

Wells did not say if he and Moore agreed to any facility upgrades, but reiterated the athletics director's commitment to helping the baseball program.

"Coach Moore has assured me it will be done," Wells said. "And I believe him."

Wednesday's announcement ended a coaching search that saw little movement from the university.

School officials said they had not contacted prospective candidates — Bobby Pierce from Troy, Mitch Gaspard from Northwestern State and John Cohen from Kentucky — possibly thinking that Wells could change his mind.

"I know this is what I want to be doing and this is where I want to be, and I am looking forward to getting back to work," Wells said. "We have tremendous challenges and opportunities ahead of us, and I am eager to take those on."

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